James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Scandals undermine confidence in hard work

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray James Gray

Cabinet Office Minister, Greg Clark has announced a £129 million investment package for Swindon and Wiltshire.

It means 1,500 more jobs, and an injection of £70 million a year into the local economy. It means the whole of the A350 Chippenham bypass being dualled, and road improvements around Malmesbury to facilitate the 3,000 high-quality engineering and design jobs which Dyson intends to create in the next few years.

Parliament, meanwhile, always gets busier and busier in the run-up to the Recess. July tends to be hot and bad-tempered, often worsened by a reshuffle which people seem to think is imminent.

Allegations of paedophile activity by a few Parliamentarians 30 years ago must be taken seriously.

Those who may have taken part in any such disgraceful and disgusting activities must bear the full penalty of the law. And any cover-up in the past, if there was one, must be exposed and the miscreants named and dealt with. But at the same time, there is nothing nastier than a witchhunt, to which some press comment bears some resemblance.

These allegations, coming after so many other Parliamentary ‘scandals’ (many of them completely baseless), tend to undermine public confidence in the hard work which most of us do for our constituents.

There is less corruption or malpractice of any kind in this the Mother of Parliaments than in most other political systems around the world.

We have a first-class system of governance and we should be proud of it.

That’s one reason why I have been strongly supporting a BBC documentary on life behind the scenes in Parliament, which Michael Cockerell and team are currently filming.

The public needs to see what life is like in Parliament, what hard work it is, not just for MPs but for all the 5,000 staff who work there; and they need to be shown that the work in the 40 or so committee rooms, and the 2,000 other rooms in the ‘Palace’ is decent and hard-working.

I am just back from a couple of days touring the First World War Battlefields and military cemeteries in Flanders.

No matter how often I visit those wonderful cemeteries, I admit to choking up. What a tragic waste that (and all warfare) was. But they died so that we might be free, and so that our Parliamentary democracy might operate properly. It is our duty now to make sure that it does.

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